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WISEST and Bletchley Park on VE Day

Both my parents are with me today. An Ottawa man who has spent a great deal of time chronicling the history of the codebreakers of Bletchley Park, who interviewed my mother and made sure she received the Bletchley medal, sent me this today, dedicated to the veterans of Bletchley in honour of V.E. Day:

I look for Mum among the photos of young women inputting code and imagine her listening to these VE Day letters. Weeping for joy, for sure, a habit she passed on to me, though it meant the imminent end of her job. I wonder if she was thinking at all of my dad, perhaps the favourite of her wartime boyfriends, stationed with an American army MASH unit somewhere in eastern France. What a glorious day for them all. Thanks and all praise to the coalition, including so many Canadians, whose bravery defeated the very definition of evil.

And then the man who was President of the University of Alberta when my dad was the Vice-President Research through the eighties sent me this, about WISEST, Women in Scholarship, Engineering, Science, and Technology, founded by my father in 1982 to encourage women and girls to enter these male-dominated fields. It has just won a citizenship award.

Dad came late to feminism, but then he jumped right in. Very proud of them both.

Nothing much to report, which is wonderful for a change. Lost pounds are coming back. The difficult situation is not resolved but looks like it will definitely get there, all I ask at this point. Yesterday, during aperitif, Monique invited Deborah to join us; she’s a lawyer who has lived right across the street since 2004 and to whom I’ve never spoken. So thanks to Covid we’re getting to know our neighbours. Today, line-dancing with Gina and my Friday Zoom chat with Judy in Vancouver, who was cruel enough to swivel her camera so I could see her phenomenal view of ocean and mountains and spring. Here they’re talking about a polar vortex with possible snow, though so far, it’s just chilly. We can live with chilly. Though it is indeed really, really chilly.

I did some writing work. I ate, drank, and read, stayed alive for another day and thought and wrote about my extraordinary parents. That will do.

And now, 7.30, time to go bang my tambourine in the street with Monique and Deborah and other neighbours. It doesn’t signal the end of a war, but it is a joyful noise.

And now to Google “How to cut your own bangs.”



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About Beth

I began keeping a journal at the age of nine. Nearly fifty years later, I started this online journal, sharing reflections, reviews, updates, and the occasional secret.

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